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Manitoba officials say burn ban not necessary despite extreme heat

Horizontal view of evening campsite. A red tent set up on green grass, a fire pit burning a campfire in the foreground, chairs, cooler, lamp and cooking equipment suggest relaxation in a natural night setting. Getty Images / File

Whether you’re a fan of hot temperatures or not, the dangers of Manitoba’s current heat wave are extreme.

According to Manitoba Wildfire Services, there are 17 wildfires burning across the province right now — 13 being actively fought.

Read more: Winnipeg mayor announces city’s plans for impending heat wave

However, director David Schafer says a burn ban isn’t necessary.

“The majority of what we’re dealing with now is up in the more remote areas,” Schafer says.

Four of the fires are “no action” fires and almost every blaze is east of Lake Winnipeg, he said.

A “lightning belt” is to blame for the majority of current fires according to Schafer, who says the addition of dry, hot weather is a perfect recipe for wildfires. Earlier this spring, Schafer says most fires were caused by human activity.

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Read more: ‘Tinderbox’: Extreme Western Canada heat wave now heading east to Prairie provinces

Despite the fires not being near any communities, Schafer says they still expect people to be vigilant when having a fire due to the dry conditions.

When it comes to your yard, the City of Winnipeg has a list of bylaw regulations residents must follow, like having a spark arrester and keeping the pit 10 feet away from any structure.

Keeping plants, grass and trees wet could also save you from a potential fire hazard.

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“When you can create that green circle around your property, it reduces the chance of embers falling into something flammable but it also reduces the chance of a surface fire creeping towards the property and eventually starting a fire,” says Schafer.

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While camping, he suggests making sure you have a water supply nearby or a bucket of sand to douse a fire, and even recommends bringing along a fire extinguisher.

Read more: Western Canada heat wave: How to stay cool and plan for future hot spells

Temperatures in the mid-thirties are expected to stay in place through Saturday then return to mid-twenties on Sunday into Monday.

According to the province’s website, four of the current 17 fires are human-caused, one of which has been active for 51 days and covers 20,6017 hectares.

Two have been active for five days and are classified as out of control.

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